Legendary Saddlebred Showman Don Harris Honored with 2010 USEF Lifetime Achievement Award


Lexington, KY - In the American Saddlebred world, few names rise to a level of royalty in quite the way that the name of Don Harris has. During more than five decades of training and competition, his fan following has exponentially increased. Those who know him attribute it to three things: impeccable training, consummate showmanship and perhaps most importantly and most simply, sincere kindness. Now, after this lifetime as an ambassador for one of America's few original breeds, the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce that Harris, of Cox's Creek, KY, has been selected to receive the organization's highest honor - the USEF Lifetime Achievement Award and the Jimmy A. Williams Trophy.

Through the years, Harris has had a hand in the development of some of the most prominent American Saddlebreds ever known: CH Imperator, CH Giddy-Up-Go, CH Protege, CH Sultan's Starina and CH Finisterre's Gift of Love. Among his wins are repeat Five-Gaited World's Grand Championships, the Three-Gaited World's Grand Championship and numerous reserves. In addition to making a name for himself in American Saddlebred circles throughout the United States, Harris garnered international attention by sharing news of the breed abroad, helping to influence sales to enthusiasts in Germany, South Africa and Haiti.

His accolades include being named the American Horse Shows Association (now USEF) Horseman of the Year (1980), receiving the American Saddlebred Horse Association (ASHA) C.J. Cronan Sportsmanship Award (1996) and the ASHA Lifetime Achievement Award (2009). He has also been honored as Horse World's Trainer of the Decade and Trainer of the Century.  

The USEF Lifetime Achievement Award and the Jimmy A. Williams Trophy are given to the horseman or horsewoman whose "life experience and accomplishments exemplify uncommon devotion to the sport of competition with horses and whose equestrian career and horsemanship have continually elevated the sport's excellence." It is without a doubt that Don Harris more than qualifies for this once-in-a-lifetime honor.

The USEF Lifetime Achievement Award will be formally presented to Harris during the USEF's Pegasus Awards on January 22, the culminating awards gala of the 2011 USEF Annual Meeting, taking place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Lexington, KY.

For tickets to the 2011 USEF Annual Meeting and Pegasus Awards, visit www.usef.org and click on "2011 Annual Meeting" on the right side of the homepage.

For more information about the USEF Lifetime Achievement Award, contact Trisha Watkins, USEF Awards Manager, by phone at (859) 225-6944 or via e-mail at tlwatkins@usef.org.

Photo Credit: Don Harris and CH Imperator. Photo by Sargent/ASHA Archive.




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